THE HISTORY OF WOMEN'S CRICKET
Women have been playing cricket for well over 250 years. The first account of a women's match was in 1745 which took place in Surrey, England. These early matches attracted huge crowds and were often 'inter-village' contests or sometimes 'married versus singles' contests involving peasant women. The winners would receive prizes which varied from 500 pounds to plumcake, a barrel of ale, regale of tea or eleven pairs of lace gloves!
1887 saw the birth of the first women's cricket club, White Heather, formed by eight ladies of the aristocracy in Yorkshire. In 1890 two teams under the title 'The Original English Lady Cricketers' travelled around the country playing each other in exhibition matches. the matches drew large crowds, sometimes up to 15 000 spectators. The two teams received a sixpence a day but within two years the teams folded due to their manager absconding with the profits.
At the start of the twentieth century, many girls' schools added cricket to the curriculum. The Women's Cricket Association (WCA) was established in 1926. They organised matches using the MCC laws of cricket. However, it wasn't until 1932 that county grounds were made available to women.
In Australia, the first recorded women's cricket match, consisting mainly of miner's daughters, was held at Bendigo in April, 1874 though there were many other unconfirmed matches played as far back as 1815. The game spread and irregular matches were played in other parts of the Australian colonies.
On the 8th of March 1886 two teams - the Siroccos and the Fernleas - played a charity match at the Association Ground (later to be known as the famous Sydney Cricket Ground). The Siroccos was captained by Nellie Gregory, later married to Australian Test player - Harry Donnan of Bexley (a local resident to our area). This charity match was deemed to be a success with the public and resulted in the organisation of many more women's matches in the name of worthy causes.
These early charity matches sparked the beginning of much more serious competitions. in 1891, the first intercolonial match between NSW and Victoria took place at the SCG with NSW the victors. By the end of the 1890's the first clubs were being established in Victoria. Girls at independent schools in Melbourne and Sydney were also playing cricket and were involved in regular interschool competitions. Unfortunately, the start of World War I in 1914 brought not only most girl's cricket to a halt but also women's cricket.
There was a revival in interest in the 1920's and state women's cricket associations were formed. NSW Women's Cricket Association (NSWWCA) was founded in January 1927 with Nellie Donnan (nee Gregory) appointed the first President. Organised competitions have existed at State level since that period and on the 20th March 1931, the Australian Women's Cricket Council (AWCC) was formed to administer and develop the game at National level.
In 1934 the AWCC invited England to tour Australia. It was the first overseas tour. The very first test match held in Brisbane saw England win by nine wickets.
The International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC) was founded on 19 February 1958 to coordinate the increasing amount of women's cricket played worldwide. Australia had been affiliated with the IWCC since it's establishment.
In 1973, the first World Cup One Day Series was held in England, two years prior to the first World Cup for men. England won this first series, but Australia has dominated since winning the 'Jack Hayward Trophy' in 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997 and 2005.
1976 saw the first ever women's Test match played on the hallowed turf at the home of cricket - Lord's. The match between Australia and England was won by the latter.
In 1984 - 85 to commemorate 50 years of Test cricket between Australia and England, a Jubilee series was played. The first Test of the series was staged at Bendigo, the venue of Australia's first recorded women's match.
On the 1st of July 2003 women's cricket was formally integrated into Cricket Australia's structure. Formerly named the Australian Women's Cricket Council (AWCC), they had been the sole governing body of women's cricket in Australia since its establishment in 19 31. They now operate as a program under the banner of Cricket Australia and are now simply known as Women's Cricket.
In 2005, the International Women's Cricket Council (AWCC), merged with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to help drive the development of the sport. The ICC are now the sole body responsible for cricket worldwide.
Today women's cricket nations include Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, England, India, ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Wales and West Indies.